Democracy has come not only to stay in Nigeria, but is effectively defining the nation’s political landscape and roadmaps to greatness and development.
As part of the 2023 Democracy Day celebration, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) observes that the lack of women inclusion in governance and political participation over the years has remained a weak link in the core values of democracy and this is certainly not part of a true reflection of the Nigerian democratic dream.
In a press statement signed by its National President Ladi Bala and Helen Udofa National secretary, NAWOJ emphasizes that as part of deliberate and conscious efforts aimed at addressing the gender gap, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and members of the 10th National Assembly should, in the interest of gender balancing and equitable development and fairness in the allocation of ‘who gets what and how’ in the nation’s democracy, consider a ranking female legislator as the Deputy Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives.
NAWOJ specifically maintains that the underrepresentation of women in the 10th National Assembly is a serious setback that requires deliberate action, noting that the time to set in motion the strategy for changing the narrative of underrepresentation of women at the National Assembly is now.
The Association observes that as it stands today, the 10th National Assembly is not gender friendly as it lacks balance with only 17 women representation out of 469 members of both chambers, stressing that the development is so sad and worrisome as it does not reflect the diversity of the Nigerian society in any form.
NAWOJ further notes that gender diversity in leadership, fosters innovation and better governance, stressing that until the issue of women inclusion in leadership and governance are prioritized in the new administration, the nation’s democracy can at best be described as hypocrisy with the hope of Nigerian women dashed once again.
It equally posits that in the spirit of patriotism and building the confidence of women, who are always active participants in the political process, stakeholders and members of the National Assembly should consider and allow a female legislator to emerge as Deputy Speaker in order to give the gender requirement that promotes inclusion.
Let’s right the wrong and make history in the eyes of the global community starting with the election of a female into a principal position of the 10th National Assembly.
NAWOJ, however, urges that while Nigeria and Nigerians should be commended for bracing the odds to ensure that sustainable democracy is entrenched, their resilience for a guaranteed and uninterrupted successive democratic administration since return to democracy in 1999 deserves applause.
It also notes that the gains of the nation’s democratic experience are enormous and worthy of celebration by all.
NAWOJ is of the view that most significant is the collective resolve by most Nigerians that democracy, as a system of government, has its ideals and ethos which are being poorly adhered to by political leaders and stakeholders, thus creating gaps in the nation’s political space.
Towards this end, NAWOJ therefore appeals to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to make do his campaign promises of promoting equity and social inclusion at all levels of governance including ensuring adequate representation of women in governance.